Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Mid Life Crisis

Gweipo's post reminds me of Life after 50 - Reboot, a book by the Japanese management guru Kenichi Ohmae 大前研一 (Kenichi Ohmae's biography here).  You may not like the tone of the author but I do appreciate the 100% openness on his part.  It seems that this somewhat neglected book has not been translated into English yet.  Every man aged 40 or above who can read Japanese or Chinese should grab a copy and read it from cover to cover.

Kenichi Ohmae made the following points:
  • If you love singing/dancing/acting/painting/music performing and cannot make yourself a known singer/dancer/actor/painter/performer before 40, forget about it.  You won't be a renowned singer/dancer/actor/painter/performer.
  • If you can't make yourself a partner of McKinsey & Company, Inc. before you attain 40, you just won't be a partner of McKinsey.  Face the fact and accept it.
  • If you are over 40 years of age and still complaining about unfairness and lack of opportunities, you probably will spend the rest of your life complaining and mourning for yourself.  
  • Retirement from your present job is not a ticket to grave.  If, by age 45 or 50, you still hasn't reached the highest point you thought you would be up to, you need a mental reboot.  It's time you leave your present job behind and try something new.  Start a new venture, learn a new skill and start a new hobby. 
  • You don't need to prove anything to your wife.  If she is still with you when you are 50, she already knows who you are. 
  • If you don't need to prove anything to  your wife, you don't need to prove anything to anybody.
  • Go to the country or a smaller company.  Your skill, not the highest rated though in the biggest companies, is much needed elsewhere.  You are more useful than what you think.
  • Sell your heavily mortgaged house and buy a smaller one in the less prestigious location.  Yes, you can live in a smaller place.  No, you don't want to be bothered with mortgage when you are 60.
  • Learn how to purchase tickets to movies on your cell phone; try what you used to hate to eat; learn an instrument or a new language; learn how to swim if you cannot swim. 
  • You may not be the most charming flower in the field, but you can be the ground that nurtures that flower.  Don't underestimate the value of your knowledge and experience to the youth. 
  • By 50, you should be able to tell what you can change and can't change.  What you can't change, you can't change.
  • Do what you really want to do.  
  • You should be able to ignore noise.
  • Stay away from negative people. 

I'm just reading ahead.  Will have to live a few more years before I attain 50.


    gweipo said...

    yes and amen to that.
    Did you ever read the "4 hour work week?" It had a similar but less philosophical message. Basically why wait until retirement to do what you want to do.

    I'm just thinking of trading in our 3000 square foot rental house in for the 600 square foot apartment we could afford to buy in HK though .....
    But then again, we're also not 50 yet.

    W said...

    I have just downloaded a sample of "4 hour work week" to my kindle. Let's see how I like it.

    Jim said...

    About bullet point number one...just off hand there's composer Morton Feldman, who worked in a textile factory until he was 47, and Cezanne, who had his first solo show at age 55--and presumably by the time they reached that age, being renowned was not their motivation. Also it's worth pointing out that neither of them lived in place that values conformity the way Japan does.

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